Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills

Open minds, loving hearts, helping hands


Vibrant Faith for 21st Century!

Author Sarah Ahrens, Written Aug 16, 2013

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I recently attended a conference in Princeton NJ Aug 6-8 on 21st Century Faith Formation led by John Roberto.  And since then I have been eagerly sharing the information with many UUCSHers in the hopes of advancing the many ideas and concepts presented at the workshop.

Given the statistics showing how faith participation trends are changing, especially when considering different generations, how do we “do” religious education and adult faith development in such a way as to keep connecting with as many generations as possible?
The workshop presented a lot of examples of how congregations are using technology and social media as ways to extend and enhance ministry that has traditionally been done in “brick and mortar” settings.

UUCSH is already making progress in expanding its social media footprint- an updated website, facebook page, facebook group, twitter feeds (I’m trying to be more diligent in using my twitter account), pinterest.

The children’s chapels for this summer are using a curriculum that is online, and I try to hand out the take it home activities to those who are at chapel and email/post the link for those who were not at chapel.  Some curricula to be used this coming fall also have the take it home and online components and we will make use of them!  So for those who were there they can keep the learning going within in the family, and for those who weren’t there they can still engage with the material.  Now to create online opportunities for people to share their family take it home activities!

While I am trying to get up to speed on various technologies and social media, I know there are children, youth, and adults in the congregation who are way ahead of the curve when it comes to this stuff.  So please utilize the technology and media in as many ways as you can when engaged in UUCSH activities.  Though we always say to “silence your electronic devices” at the start of worship- I urge you to also use them!  Tweet/post tidbits of what is happening in service- a meaningful reading, a nugget of wisdom from sermon or time for all ages.  It has been suggested before and the conference reminded me of the importance of creating and curating digital content for UUCSH- so keep the photos and videos coming of UUCSH activities and let’s find a way to add them to our website.  We will also figure out how to make sure people who don’t want to be in photos/videos that are available to the public are not used.

Look at how technology and social media made a “virtual choir” possible!
And if in “regular” school and academic settings they are “flipping the classroom”, what would that look like for religious education and adult faith development?

UUCSH has a lot of stuff going on- let’s extend the connections we build in person into the digital realm- and maybe people who first connect digitally will make their way to the in person happenings!  But more importantly- the values of UUCSH will be shared with more people!